Hey Mike — How Do You Google?

Mike MacGregor is the VP-IST of the University of Alberta, as well as a professor in the Department of Computing Science. Take a few minutes to see how G Suite shapes his life.

Mike MacGregor is the VP-IST of the University of Alberta, as well as a professor in the Department of Computing Science. Take a few minutes to see how G Suite shapes his life.

Q: What does an average workday look like for you? 
A: If it goes the way I hope, then the very first slice of the day is all the stuff that showed up overnight, or the stuff that I didn't quite get to the night before. Then we do morning stand-up, so a 15-minute morning check-in with the IST executive team. And assuming there's nothing exceptional there, then I get some time to concentrate. So I'll actually get time to do some writing, investigate something, build a new document, collaborate with somebody. And then the afternoon is meetings with individuals and committees. For every meeting, I make sure I know why I'm in that meeting, then I'll review them at the end of the week. Did that meeting go the way I planned? What came out of it, and what do I need to do next?

Q: What are the various ways you use Google in your role?
A: For me, it's mostly Google Docs. I spend a lot of time creating and finding ways to collaborate on documents and reports. I also create a few presentations on Google Slides. But honestly, for me, it's a lot more writing and collaborating through documents in Google Drive than anything else. 

Q: Do you have a favorite way to use Google or a favorite feature?
A: I love being able to share documents. I love not having to email documents around and then figure out a month or two down the road which version is the most current. I can just share them through Google Drive without having to email things around and have a million different versions later.

Q: How has using Google change the way you work?
A: Well, I started with this whole “Internet” thing when rocks were still soft. There used to be something called UUNET, where a network of computers would basically email big chunks of news around the world through the day, and people would dive into it and contribute to it, and then forward it on. So I've seen the Net go from that sort of “community telegraph” to the point where you've got dynamic content available online in real time. So how has it changed my life? It's made everything much more responsive and much more dynamic. It has given me access to information and people that otherwise I’d have to spend weeks or months trying to get in touch with. 

Q: What Google app could you not live without and why?
A: My calendar. If it wasn't for my calendar, I wouldn't know where I'm supposed to be. Amanda can confirm that - for sure. I don't own my calendar. Amanda owns my calendar, and I touch it at my peril and her wrath. That's the clear understanding we share.

Q: If you were a Google app, which one would you be and why?
A: Hangouts, because I love the way it enables us to communicate. I love that ability to dynamically and quickly be able to talk to people, to be able to reach out, to share some information and then not intrude anymore. I don't have to have a half hour meeting. I can just have a quick conversation.

Q: If you were introducing someone to G Suite, what tips would you give them?
A: Relax and get used to it. Play with it for a while, because it's probably different than most collaboration suites you've used. There are a ton of features, a ton of settings, all sorts of add-ons and plugins. If there's something you can't do, there's probably an add-on that can do it. 

Q: What is one final thing you want people to know about Google or G Suite? 
A: Google Lens is the absolutely coolest app ever. You can point it at anything, and it will tell you what it is. I just find it interesting that I can do a lot more visual searches now instead of just text-based ones. 

Who do you know that’s doing something cool with Google on campus? Send their info to istcomms@ualberta.ca and they might be featured in an upcoming article! Until then, keep reading Information Services & Technology’s (IST) latest Google news.